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Aussies forced to change shopping habits to beat price hikes

Female shoppers in supermarket aisle
Shoppers are now looking at unit prices more carefully and comparing items to save money. (Source: Getty) (Jenny Evans via Getty Images)

Australian supermarket shoppers are sourcing additional income or changing spending their habits to afford climbing weekly grocery bills, according to new research.

A shopper survey conducted by consumer comparison company Canstar Blue found that, in the face of rising prices, shoppers had been forced to review their spending habits.

“One in 10 have even looked for extra sources of income to supplement the budget they had for groceries,” Canstar Blue’s editor-in-chief Christine Seib said.


“The same number have cut back spending in other areas so they can afford their usual groceries.”

The shopping survey conducted in mid-march found 67 per cent of Aussie shoppers had noticed their grocery bills climb over the past year.

An additional 29 per cent had noticed an increase in grocery item prices over the past two years.

How Aussies are changing their shopping habits

To combat the price climb, one-third of shoppers are now opting for supermarket-branded products instead of branded items, and are comparing unit prices more carefully.

Meanwhile, others are shopping around at multiple chain stores to secure the best deals.

Brisbane mum of four Jasmine Williams told Yahoo Finance she had recently made changes to her spending habits to afford her fortnightly shop.

“I did spend at least $350 fortnightly to feed my family of four, including one being gluten-free. But now at Coles and Woolies it’s roughly costing me at least $500 per fortnight,” she said.

Williams is now attempting to save on her grocery bill by avoiding the major retailers and shopping around at multiple factory-outlet stores for the best deals.

“I’ve found some amazing deals from different places, you just need to know where to look,” she said.

“Luckily I’ve found a way to stock up as things aren't looking like they're getting better anytime soon and I needed a cheaper way to shop for my family.”

Several surveyed shoppers also remarked on the climbing cost of groceries, with one noticing an increase across items on 70 per cent of her shopping list, with price increases of 50 cents to $2 extra per item.

What items have increased?

The Canstar Blue survey also found that price increases had forced more than one-third of Aussies to change their shopping habits to buying fewer groceries and forgoing "luxury items".

“With nearly two-thirds of Australian shoppers noticing their grocery bill rising, many are now compensating for higher grocery prices by buying only necessities,” Seib said.

However, the biggest price increases were found to be on essential grocery items including bread, milk and eggs.

A shopping bag full of fresh vegetables and fruits, with milk and eggs on home kitchen counter.
Supermarket customers have noticed the biggest price hikes have been on everyday items. (Source: Getty) (chameleonseye via Getty Images)

“More than 80 per cent of Aussies have noticed that meat, fruit and vegetables are more expensive,” Seib added.

“And more than half of shoppers have clocked price increases on milk, bread, eggs and dairy products such as cheese and butter.”

But price increases aren’t just having a negative impact on customers’ spending; 41 per cent of Aussies say their perceptions of supermarkets have changed.

According to the survey, shoppers now have a lower level of trust in supermarkets, believing major retailers have been using the COVID-19 pandemic and economic events to introduce unnecessary price increases.

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